Cowboys upset Texas A&M Commerce to advance to the Southland Tournament quarterfinals

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Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 11:29 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The No. 8 seeded McNeese Men’s Basketball team knocked off the No. 5 seeded Texas A&M Commerce Lions 79-78 Sunday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Southland Conference Tournament.

Christian Shumate put together a dominant performance of 28 points and 12 rebounds in the win, as the Cowboys controlled the interior portion of the floor all night long.

The Cowboys opened the game with a quick 10-4 run that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the ballgame. With just under four minutes left to go in the first half freshman forward, Dionjahe Thomas, would throw down a basket-shaking dunk that would put the Cowboys up 29-28.

But to the Lion’s credit, they wouldn’t let that deter them as they traded buckets with McNeese the rest of the half to make it 35-35 going into the locker room.

In the second half, the Lions would build their largest lead of the game with just over eight minutes left to go in the game as JJ Romer Rosario nailed a three-point shot that would put them up 63-58. The Cowboys would respond with a run of their own, as they took back the lead 75-70 off of a Johnathan Massie free throw.

Texas A&M Commerce would tie the game back up with 26 seconds left to go in the game, giving the Cowboys one final chance in regulation to win. Freshman Donavan Oday would dribble the ball up the floor, drive to the rim, and get fouled with two seconds left to go.

Oday would step up to the free throw line and would hit his first shot that sealed the win for the Cowboys as the Lions had no time left to put up a quality shot.

“I think the thing that we did tonight, that we haven’t done as well down the stretch of these games is we just pounded the ball in the paint. We didn’t take bad shots, we didn’t settle, and we didn’t have bad turnovers,” said coach Aiken following the win. “The great thing about us, is we have the best player in this league, there’s no doubt about it and he’s playing like that right now and so we just got to trust the guys that we’ve got, and down the stretch, it comes down to can you execute this group is so connected and so bought into everything I asked them to do, they have never wavered despite all the noise, and despite all the tough times, they’ve stuck together and so it’s good to see faith rewarded.”

McNeese Top Performers:

  • Zach Scott: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steals, 1 assist
  • Dionjahe Thomas: 10 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist
  • Christian Shumate: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Johnathan Massie: 13 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal

With the win over Texas A&M Commerce the Cowboys now have a date with Nicholls in the quarterfinals of the Southland Conference Tournament. That game is set for Monday at 5:00 pm in the Legacy Center.